Celeste Khumalo when on set has no sacred cows before her, she plays Bulelwa a
fearless lawyer, who could go at length when it comes to defending human rights.
In real life, she is just as ambitious as her character on set, and she has worked hard to get to where she is.
“There are certain things I had to put on hold, such as relationships and my studies, so I could invest my time and money in my acting career,” Celeste told DRUM magazine. “It hasn’t been easy, but it needed to be done.”
Her efforts have not been in vain; playing the fierce and highly self-motivated Bulelwa has won her fans on the popular show, Generations.
Celeste, shot to stardom as Miss Teen South Africa in 2011, used the pageant as a stepping stone, but could not imagine seeing herself being one of the cast in Mzansi’s longest-running soapie one day.
She starred as Linda in The Queen in 2016, also played another a part in the originalShowmax drama series, The Girl from St Agnes.
When she auditioned for the role of Bulelwa in Generations, The Legacy, at the age of 27, she was prepared and quite aware of the territory she was entering characterised by stiff competition.
She engaged the services of an acting coach to fine tune her act.
“When I started playing Linda it was difficult for viewers to warm up to me. But when I was called back to play her again before she was killed, I had gained some experience
and I was getting more confident. It showed after the character was killed.
“I had people ask me why Linda died – they wanted to see me back on their screens,,”she said.
Since starring as a new character on the SABC1 commanding show she has been
receiving encouraging feedback from fans.
She attributed her success to strong team spirit between the actors including co- stars,Vusi Kunene who plays Jack Mabaso whom she admires and has too much respect for him.
She also shares some personal traits with Bulelwa. “Linda was a baby mama who
chased after money,” Celeste said. “Bulelwa is a woman who makes her own money without relying on anyone but herself – that’s why I’m more familiar with her. She sums up the person I am.”
She is more than just a pretty face, she is a businesswoman with a driving force to push
boundaries. She follows after her mother, Nomsa Khumalo, owns an interior design
company called Matriarch Interiors.
“It’s a family business I started with my mom in 2018,” she said. “It is still new. ‘I needed to prioritize things in my life’
“We’ve had two clients so far but I’m optimistic it will grow to be one of the biggest
interior design companies in the country.”
She was studying for a MBA through Regenesys Business School but recently put her studies on ice.
“I had to put it on hold for now because of my busy schedule and my finances. “I don’t have anyone who helps me financially, so I needed to prioritise certain things in my life.”
She is taking her time to balance her activities, and she is not in a hurry to complete her studies.
“I’m not competing with anyone,” she said. “It will happen when it happens. Right now I just want to focus on my career and travel a bit.”
She loves traveling and has been to America, Dubai and Bali, and France, her trips are sometimes sponsored.
“My favourite city is Dubai because of the atmosphere. And it smells good! It came from
nothing but now it’s the best place to be. “Travelling has taught me the world is a bigger
place,” she added. “As much as we have problems and aspirations, so do seven billion
other people – that motivates you to work hard.”
Following the end of her role on The Queen. Celeste went into hibernation.
“I lost my uncle, then my grandmother two weeks later. With my grandmother it was
very sudden and devastating. Everyone in the family loved her. She was my everything.
It was a tough time and I had to adjust quickly,” she shared.
The tragedies were a big blow to her family and it summoned bravery out of the young
actress. “This was the first time I had dealt with death so close to my family. I had to put
my emotions aside and be a big girl.
“I had to handle things – with the help of my family, of course. But I was quite strong
through it, surprisingly,” she said.
While she opened up on other aspects of her life, she was reluctant when it comes to her love life.
“Relationships are uncertain. Today you might think you’re seeing someone and
tomorrow that might change. I prefer not talking about them because I also don’t know where I stand when it comes to them.
“Right now, what matters to me is my acting career – it comes before anything else and I’m not ready to compromise that for any relationship,” she said.
She recalled how she still loves the pageant a platform that showcases black beauty. Added that she was happy and excited with this year’s winner [Zozibini Tunzi], who fared well during interviews.
“I can’t wait to see how she’ll represent us to the world. She will definitely go far,” she added.
As for now Celeste is much obsessed with her acting career and is prepared to forego other things, until she reaches the promised land in her career.